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HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2017) Review

HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2017) Review

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HP Spectre x360 13-ae002xx

HP’s Spectre x360 13 has been our favourite convertible 2-in-1 for some time, taking the prize in our “Best 2-in-1s” record as the perfect for pocket book use. The late 2016 mannequin provided one of the best mixture of efficiency, battery life, show high quality, and worth, and the early 2017 refresh added in lively pen help and a brand new Darkish Ash Silver with Copper accents shade scheme. Now, coinciding with Intel’s introduction of its eighth-generation Core processors, HP has refreshed the road as soon as once more. Our HP Spectre x360 13 assessment appears on the newest mannequin to see if it maintains its particular place in our hearts.

Our assessment unit was outfitted with a Core i7-8550U, 13.Three-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 or 166 PPI) show, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state disk (SSD). It’s priced at $1,280 (on sale for $1,180), together with the extra superior HP Tilt lively pen and the Pure Silver colour scheme. In the meantime, you may as well select the Core i5-8250U mannequin to save lots of an additional $100. When maxed out, the Spectre x360 13 prices $2,240 (on sale for $2,140) for a similar CPU, 16GB of RAM, an enormous 2TB SSD, a 4K UHD show (Three,840 x 2,160 or 331 PPI), HP Tilt pen, and both the Darkish Ash Silver or brand-new Pale Rose Gold shade scheme.

With the upper configurations, these costs break the Spectre x360 13 into premium pocket book territory. The query is, did HP bake in sufficient enhancements to maintain the machine on the prime of the bunch?

A skinny and delightful body that’s simply the slightest bit flexible

HP didn’t change a lot within the Spectre x360 13’s structural design, shaving off only a sliver of thickness (to zero.54 inches) and decreasing the load from 2.85 kilos to 2.78 kilos. The bezels have been additionally thinned out a fraction of a millimeter to compete with the skinny bezels and small footprint of laptops just like the Dell XPS 13. Whereas it doesn’t fairly beat it, the Spectre x360 does thumb its nostril on the XPS 13 by holding the webcam above the show the place it belongs.

General, that makes the brand new design one of many thinnest and lightest convertible 2-in-1s, only a bit extra petit than the 13.Three-inch Lenovo Yoga 720 (zero.60 inches and a couple of.9 kilos). The marginally wider 13.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 920 is only a hair thinner at zero.50 inches, nevertheless it’s additionally a bit heavier at Three.09 kilos. After which the Asus ZenBook Flip S beats all of them at zero.43 inches and a couple of.42 kilos.

Making one thing thinner typically leads to a bit much less structural rigidity, and that’s the case with the Spectre x360 13. It’s very well-built, with zero creakiness and a rock-solid keyboard deck, however the lid and backside give simply the slightest bit underneath strain. It’s not sufficient to trigger concern concerning the machine’s longevity, however it additionally doesn’t boast the tank-like rigidity of the Yoga 920.

The Spectre x360 13 zips via on a regular basis duties with ease.

One space the place the Spectre x360 13 does match the Yoga 920 is within the hinge. Whereas HP’s model doesn’t possess the sheer mechanical great thing about Lenovo’s watchband hinge, it’s however simply as clean and it holds the show simply as firmly in the popular location — in no matter mode, be it clamshell, media, presentation, or pill.

Aesthetically, the Spectre x360 13 additionally acquired a little bit of a makeover. Most noticeably, the rear edges have been diamond-cut, offering some angles that catch the sunshine higher than the earlier mannequin’s rounded edges. Then venting beneath the show has additionally been streamlined, giving it a futuristic look. These are delicate change, however the result’s a shocking pocket book that stands out with out being ostentatious — until you decide the glitzy Pale Rose Gold colour scheme.

Meagre however high-performance connectivity

Connectivity stays just like the earlier mannequin, with a single USB-A Three.1 port and two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt Three help. The latter signifies that the Spectre x360 13 can hook up with exterior GPU enclosures to offer for extra highly effective gaming choices, together with the power to hook up with a higher array of screens and high-speed peripherals. Both USB-C port can be utilized to energy the pocket book by way of the included charger.

HP additionally added in a brand new micro-SD card reader to help the wants of photographers and videographers, and naturally the standard Three.5mm audio jack is available. The Spectre x360 13’s connectivity is matched properly with the Yoga 920 when it comes to USB, however outdoes it by together with an SD slot. That’s at the least one dongle you gained’t want on the Spectre x360.

Wi-fi connectivity consists of 2×2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2. General, connectivity is comparatively meager when it comes to the sheer variety of ports, however the twin Thunderbolt Three USB-C connections are excessive efficiency and futureproof. If nothing else, the Spectre x360 shines in comparison with the only USB-C port discovered on the Yoga 720 and 12-inch MacBook.

At the moment, this degree of connectivity is to be anticipated on thinner machines — sarcastically, stepping right down to thicker price range notebooks may end up in a extra strong set of ports.

Principally wonderful enter, with solely the touchpad holding issues again

The Spectre x360 13 retains the principally wonderful enter choices of the earlier mannequin, with just a few updates. The keyboard stays unchanged, retaining the identical wonderful key journey, snug bottoming motion, and general snappiness. The Yoga 920 and 720 have comparable keyboards, they usually’re high quality. Nevertheless, we discovered the Spectre x360 13’s keyboard to be much more tactile and exact, which ought to serve the quick contact typists a bit higher. It’s additionally uniformly backlit, however it solely has one brightness setting.

The Spectre x360 13 retains the principally wonderful keyboard of the earlier mannequin.

The touchpad can also be unchanged, providing a fairly sized large format that matches the show’s 16:9 facet ratio. Sadly, it continues to make the most of Synaptic drivers moderately than conforming to the Microsoft Precision Touchpad protocol, which presents higher responsiveness on machines just like the Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Floor Guide 2. As such, the Spectre x360 13’s touchpad is simply okay, with gesture help that was serviceable however not as responsive because it might have been.

The contact show, then again, was fairly responsive throughout our testing and offered simply the correct quantity of friction. Contact is the popular technique of enter when utilizing the Spectre x360 as HP’s stylus isn’t fairly as delicate as you’d hope.

The up to date “active pen” offers 1,024 ranges of strain sensitivity, which isn’t horrible, however doesn’t fairly measure as much as the four,096 ranges on supply by the Yoga 920 and Floor Professional. It feels effective for navigating across the UI and taking notes, however won’t present the sort of element wanted for extra artistic endeavors. As well as, there’s no method to connect the pen to the pocket book, which is an inconvenience and makes dropping the pen that rather more possible. You’ll need to leverage the pen holder within the included carrying case to maintain your pen useful.

Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

On the plus aspect, the lively pen provides various new options that helped us overlook a few of its limitations. HP added in tilt help, a customizable button, an eraser, and a gyroscope that lets it perform as a type of “laser pointer” for shows. All are welcome additions to a pen that was a bit primary. Apparently, HP additionally engineered in a chargeable battery, with a USB-C charging port that’s accessible by pulling up on the eraser portion.

Home windows 10 Howdy help is offered by two biometric mechanisms. The infrared cameras and facial recognition are introduced over from the earlier mannequin, and HP additionally added in a really slim fingerprint reader alongside the suitable aspect. We discovered each strategies quick and correct.

The Full HD show takes a step backward, however continues to be serviceable

Our evaluation unit was outfitted with a 13.Three-inch Full HD show, which was certainly one of three choices. You may as well select a Full HD show with the identical HP Positive View privateness display first launched within the EliteBook x360 G2 for a further $60, or a 4K UHD (Three,840 x 2,160 or 331 PPI) show for an additional $150. Full HD is the baseline for premium notebooks at this time, and so it’s good to see some extra superior choices on supply.

In response to our colorimeter, the Spectre x360 13’s show is decidedly common. Brightness was good at 301 nits, which is robust sufficient to outshine all however the brightest ambient lighting. Distinction was mediocre for at this time’s premium notebooks, nevertheless, at 770:1 at full brightness. Unusually, the earlier era’s Full HD show managed a stronger 910:1 distinction ratio, in comparison with the 880:1 of Yoga 920 and the 600:1 of Yoga 720.

Colours have been additionally common, at 71 % of AdobeRGB and 94 % of sRGB, with a colour accuracy of two.91 (lower than 1.zero is taken into account wonderful). Once more, the earlier era was a lot stronger at 75 % and 99 %, respectively, and with a a lot better 1.44 accuracy rating. The Yoga 920 was once more a bit stronger, as are laptops just like the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook Professional. In the meantime, the Yoga 720 was a bit weaker, putting the Spectre x360 13 proper in the midst of the pack. HP hasn’t offered an evidence for the slight drop in high quality, however we observed common efficiency out of the corporate’s selection of show on the Spectre 13 a properly.

HP Spectre x360 13-ae002xx In contrast To

In subjective testing, the Spectre x360 13 show was a greater expertise then these colorimeter outcomes would point out — no less than in sure conditions. Common productiveness duties and net searching have been each excellent, with strong textual content on white backgrounds and ok colours. Video, however, was darker than it must be, probably because of a comparatively poor gamma of two.6.

Robust audio that’s nice for watching films

Audio duties are carried out by a set of Bang & Olufsen audio system operating alongside the keyboard deck under the show. We discovered quantity to be sufficiently loud for a medium sized room with a shocking quantity of readability.

There’s even some stereo separation, principally obvious when watching films and offering a greater sense of the place the motion is occurring on-screen. Music is ok for the occasional pay attention, with respectable midrange and highs however the ordinary weak bass.

Wonderful productiveness efficiency, after which some

The Spectre x360 13 is provided with the newest quad-core eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor that’s displaying up in quite a few refreshed machines towards the top of 2017. It’s a superb cellular CPU that guarantees nice high-end efficiency and power-sipping effectivity for lighter productiveness duties.

As soon as once more, eighth-generation dominates. The Spectre x360 13 scored a really aggressive four,882 within the Geekbench four single-core check and 14,135 within the multi-core check. That compares to the very fast Yoga 920 at four,683 and 14,566 respectively. The scores obliterate seventh-generation methods, together with the Asus ZenBook Flip S that scored four,142 and eight,158 respectively.

Within the extra demanding Handbrake check, which encodes a 420MB video to H.265 and stresses the CPU for an extended timeframe, the Spectre x360 13 took a aggressive 723 seconds to finish the method. The Yoga 920 was quicker at 613 seconds, whereas the earlier era Spectre x360 with its Core i7-7500U took 1,095 seconds to finish the check. Observe that the Dell XPS 13, which additionally makes use of the identical CPU, took significantly longer than different eighth-generation machines at 913 seconds.

At 2.78 kilos, the Spectre x360 justifies utilizing it in pill mode.

HP additionally engineered an up to date cooling system that makes use of an infrared sensor to measure the chassis temperature and modulate the followers to maintain issues cooler to the contact. The system labored, with the chassis by no means getting uncomfortably scorching, nevertheless it additionally resulted within the followers spinning up throughout our testing.

The most recent Spectre x360 13 is an extremely fast machine for the sorts of productiveness duties sometimes requested of a convertible 2-in-1, and it has some headroom for extra superior duties like video modifying. The eighth-generation CPUs push machines into totally different a special class of efficiency completely, and the Spectre x360 13 makes good use of additional horsepower.

A speedy SSD retains issues operating easily

HP chosen a Lite-On CA1 PCIe SSD for the refreshed Spectre x360 13. We haven’t seen that drive put in in any of our assessment models, and so we have been wanting ahead to seeing the way it performs.

Because it seems, the drive performs fairly properly. Within the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, the Spectre x360 13 scored 1,769 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the write check and 998 MB/s within the learn check. That’s a robust rating in comparison with the Yoga 920’s 1,147 MB/s and 1,172 MB/s respectively, nevertheless it’s fairly a distance behind the last-generation Yoga 720’s 2,zero60 MBs and 1,209 MB/s. The earlier Spectre x360 era used a slower SSD that solely managed 1,202 MB/s learn and 583 MB/s write, so we’re getting a worthy replace in that regard.

In our real-world use, the Spectre x360 13’s SSD carried out simply in addition to these would numbers point out. The machine booted shortly, opened apps and information at once, and usually churned by way of each activity we requested of it. Storage efficiency is an actual power.


Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs present some actual efficiency will increase, however not for gaming. The built-in Intel UHD 620 graphics received a slight identify change, however its capabilities stay the identical.

Unsurprisingly, the Spectre x360 13 scored as anticipated within the 3DMark gaming benchmarks. The Hearth Strike rating of 1,034 is true the place we anticipated, and is on the excessive finish in contrast with each different machine utilizing the identical degree of GPU.

We went forward and examined Civilization VI at Full HD and medium and extremely graphics settings, and the Spectre x360 13 achieved 12 frames per second (FPS) and seven FPS, respectively. These scores, too, are inside a body or so of the competitors. Merely put, you’ll need to purchase a unique machine in case your objective is enjoying something aside from informal video games. The Floor Ebook 2 being the most effective (and costliest) 2-in-1 choice for gaming, and the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 with its Nvidia GeForce MX150 discrete GPU providing extra energy and a extra comparable worth.

A skinny and lightweight chassis coupled with distinctive battery life makes for nice portability

Our evaluate unit’s Full HD show is a more sensible choice for anybody who needs an honest viewing expertise and higher battery life than a 4K UHD show would offer. The environment friendly eighth-generation processor mixed with a comparatively giant 63 watt-hour battery gave us hope for some critical longevity.

The pocket book didn’t disappoint. First, in our most aggressive battery check, the Basemark net benchmark that stresses the CPU and GPU, the Spectre x360 13 lasted a robust 4 hours and 14 minutes, which beats out the three hours and 23 minutes managed by the Yoga 920. The Spectre x360 13’s business-oriented sibling, the EliteBook x360 G2 with a Core i7-7600U, managed 4 hours and 48 minutes.

Stepping as much as our net shopping check that loops via a collection of in style net pages, the Spectre x360 13 held out for a really aggressive eight hours and 25 minutes, virtually matching the EliteBook x360 G2 however falling in need of the earlier Spectre x360 13 era’s 9 hours and 18 minutes of longevity. As we will see, the eighth-generation Core i7 processor begins to point out off its effectivity because the CPU load drops.

Accordingly, the Spectre x360 13 carried out notably nicely in our video playback check that runs an Avengers trailer till the battery runs out. Right here, the HP lasted for a really robust 14 hours and 18 minutes, beating out the Yoga 920 and blowing away the remainder of the comparability group. Of all of the machines we’ve examined, solely the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (14 and a half hours) and the champion Floor Guide 2 (over 20 and a half hours) have lasted longer.

Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

At a light-weight 2.78 kilos and with some strong productiveness battery life, the Spectre x360 13 is a extremely moveable machine. Toss it into your backpack and head out for the day, and also you’re more likely to get a strong eight hours — or extra — of productive work accomplished with out worrying about carrying round a charger. Even when you stress the CPU, you’ll have the ability to get some actual work completed utilizing the battery alone.

Software program

HP bundles its typical help apps on the Spectre x360 13, and the standard Home windows 10 apps are alongside for the experience as properly. In any other case, solely a McAfee trial and a Dropbox promotion are put in as extraneous software program, and we will forgive the Dropbox addition for the 30GB of free storage you’ll get for a yr for those who hyperlink to your Dropbox account (or create a brand new one).

Guarantee info

HP covers the Spectre x360 13 with an ordinary one-year elements and labor guarantee. As all the time, we’d wish to see premium notebooks supply longer protection.

Our Take

The late 2017 refresh of the HP Spectre x360 13 manages to considerably enhance efficiency and battery life whereas retaining the machine’s nice appears and strong construct high quality. Add in an improved lively pen, the identical wonderful keyboard, and a few Home windows 10 Hiya flexibility, and the convertible 2-in-1 maintains its place as our favourite pocket book that may act as a pill in a pinch.

Is there a greater various?

Probably the most direct comparability to the Spectre x360 13 is the Yoga 720 13, which provides the identical 13.Three-inch show in both Full HD or 4K UHD choices. We haven’t examined the very newest model but, however it’s straightforward to imagine that it possible advantages from eighth-generation CPUs in an analogous approach, however doesn’t function the identical light-weight design or nice battery life because the Spectre x360.

One other good choice is to step as much as the marginally bigger 13.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 920. That machine acquired its personal refreshed design over the earlier Yoga 910, and we discovered it to be one of the solidly-built convertible 2-in-1s round. It’s barely costlier at $1,330 for a Core i7-8550U, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and Full HD show — and it’s expensive at $2,000 for the highest-end configuration with a Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and 4K UHD show. Efficiency is barely higher than on the Spectre x360 13, however battery life isn’t fairly nearly as good.

The Floor Ebook 2 13-inch could possibly be a greater decide should you plan to make use of your 2-in-1 as a pill ceaselessly, although it has a better $1,500 beginning worth. There isn’t a very good configuration to match pretty with what we reviewed on the Spectre, particularly because the Core i7 model of the Floor Guide 2 comes with a Nvidia GTX 1050, a 4K show, and unimaginable battery life however begins at $2,000. If you would like a 2-in-1 that’s extra reasonably priced at $900 (with a Core i5-8250U) however may also recreation greater than the Spectre x360, you then may contemplate the Asus ZenBook Flip 14.

Lastly, you can select to forgo the 2-in-1 type issue and choose a standard clamshell pocket book as an alternative. In that case, we’d advocate the newest Dell XPS 13, which is supplies maybe the perfect mixture of measurement, construct high quality, and efficiency within the 13.Three-inch pocket book class. It’s usually barely costlier at $1,400 for the same configuration, nevertheless it additionally gives a extra reasonably priced $1,000 entry-level mannequin.

How lengthy will it final?

The Spectre x360 13 is constructed nicely sufficient to elicit confidence in its longevity, and it sports activities a contemporary look that gained’t grow to be dated anytime quickly. Its use of eighth-generation CPUs means it’s going to carry out nicely into the foreseeable future, and it enjoys probably the most future-proof connectivity out there as we speak.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. The HP Spectre x360 13 is a superb wanting and well-built convertible 2-in-1 within the very snug 13.Three-inch measurement. It’s straightforward to hold round and skinny sufficient to be helpful as a pill, and its wonderful efficiency, nice battery life, and snappy keyboard makes for a really nice and productive workday.


About the author

Saurabh Shah

Saurabh Shah

A college dropout and a junior journalist at VerifiedTasks, who is extremely dedicated towards his tasks and a true prodigy. He also developed an interest for blockchain and cryptocurrency through reading books and internet stories of millennials turning into millionaires at a very young age, which he found very intriguing. He is also a self -learned tech blogger and an SEO expert. It wouldn’t be possible for VerifiedTasks to be a success without him.
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